The Sheila Lavery-trained New Energy is being lined up for a tilt at this year’s Royal Ascot after finishing a close second to Native Trail in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. New Energy, a high-class colt owned by Lavery’s brother, was only inched out by a length and three-quarters from Native Trail who had to dig deep and show all of his class. Team Lavery will quickly brush that disappointment aside with Royal Ascot looming large in June. As one of the highlights of the UK’s flat racing season, oddschecker has already provided a compilation of free bets available to use on races like the St James’s Palace Stakes – which New Energy looks set to run in.
With New Energy priced as high as 25/1 in the ante-post markets for this race, these free wagers could give patriotic Irish punters a risk-free shot at a massive payday. New Energy was ridden by replacement jockey Billy Lee in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. This was due to an injury to long-time jockey Robbie Colgan. The rider change appeared to have no negative impact, with Lee able to control the 40/1 pre-race outsider superbly to clinch second place and €100,000 in prize money.
New Energy shines in a race that oozed pace
Lavery confirmed post-race that the speed of the Irish 2,000 Guineas played neatly into New Energy’s hands. She said it was the first time that he “could sit behind” in a race with “proper pace”. He travelled without a hitch, storming from the chasing pack to inch closer towards the leader Native Trail. However, Lavery admitted that she knew overtaking him would be a step too far, given that he would “always keep pulling out more”.
For Lavery, it was a much-needed pick-me-up in her training career, three years after the blow of losing star prospect Lady Kaya following a fatal fall in preparations for the 2019 Royal Ascot. Following his sterling effort at the Curragh, New Energy’s rating has been uplifted to a mark of 113, carrying an additional 11lb ahead of Royal Ascot.
New Energy’s performance at the Curragh has not gone unnoticed
Lavery admitted that her phone “has been ringing” solidly from interested investors in New Energy, but added her brother “isn’t a seller” and also appreciates the “ups and downs of racing”. For New Energy to be in the running for a berth in the St James’s Palace Stakes is “like fantasy land” for Lavery and the rest of her family.
By the looks of the ante-post market for the St James’s Palace Stakes, it would be a tall order for New Energy to win. Aside from Native Trail, who is also said to be lined up for this race, the Godolphin-bred Coroebus is the odds-on pre-race favourite at present. That’s after Coroebus pipped Native Trail to win the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in April. There’s also the likes of Maljoom, Modern Games and Eydon who could all have room for improvement on the royal stage.